Chemical weapons watchdog blames Daesh for 2015 Syria attack

Chemical weapons watchdog blames Daesh for 2015 Syria attack

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) : The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Thursday identified Daesh militants in Iraq and the Levant as the likely perpetrator of a chemical weapons attack in Marea, Syria, on Sept. 1, 2015.

There were “reasonable grounds to believe that on 1 September 2015, during sustained attacks aimed at capturing the town of Marea, units of Daesh deployed sulfur mustard,” the organization said.

The OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team found that 11 individuals who had come into contact with a “black, vicious substance” found in projectiles at the site of the attack, had experienced symptoms consistent with exposure to sulfur mustard.

The team had established that the chemical payload was deployed by artillery from areas under Daesh control, it said.

“No other entity possessed the means, motives, and capabilities to deploy sulfur mustard as part of an attack in Marea on 1 September, 2015,” it added.

Earlier OPCW investigations have found that the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin in an April 2017 attack, dropped gas cylinders onto residential buildings in the rebel-held Syrian city of Douma in 2018, and has repeatedly used chlorine as a weapon.

Syria denies using chemical weapons and has blamed Daesh militants for mustard gas use.

The Investigation and Identification Team was established by member states at the Hague-based OPCW in November 2018 to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria after Russia vetoed the joint United Nations-OPCW mission.